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How to reach Bhutan from Delhi?

Discussion in 'Bhutan' started by Matta, Oct 2, 2016.

  1. Matta

    Matta New Member

    I have been researching about Bhutan, and it looks like a beautiful country. Although there is information posted about the things to see and do there is not much information about reaching the destination especially from India.

    I would like to know how to reach Bhutan from Delhi, and know what the different ways of reaching are?

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hi there, @Matta! Welcome to the forum.

    How to Reach Bhutan from Delhi?

    There are two ways of reaching Bhutan from India, either by air or by road. Although Indian nationals don't require any visa to enter Bhutan, you still need your passport plus another identification proof like voter's identity card for acquiring an entry permit. You can obtain this from the different border points in Bhutan, which we will highlight in the later part of this guide. Delhi itself is about 1,964 kilometres away from Bhutan. It can take you around two to three days to reach Bhutan from Delhi.

    By Air

    1. Direct Flight from Delhi to Bhutan - The Paro International Airport is the only airport in Bhutan that has international flights. It has direct flights from Bagdogra, Delhi, Guwahati, Kolkata and Mumbai. The only airlines operating from it are Bhutan Airlines and Druk Air. Flights can be booked only through the websites of these airlines.

    Flights from Delhi to Paro (Bhutan)

    AirlineFlight NumberDeparture TimeArrival TimeScheduleFare
    Druk Air2056:3010:25Monday, Wednesday and FridayRs. 31,623 (Economy)
    Bhutan AirlinesB377412:3516:15Tuesday, Thursday and SaturdayRs. 31,623 (Economy)
    As you can see, flights from Delhi to Paro in Bhutan can be quite expensive. Journey duration is very short though as compared to road journey as it is only about 4 to 5 hours in total. Once you reach the Paro International Airport, you just need to show your passport and identification proof then you're entry permit would be given to you.

    2. Alternative (Road + Air) - Another good option is to reach either Kolkata and Bagdogra by land and then from there, take a flight to reach Paro. This would cost considerably less although you do have to spend some money on your road journey too.

    Flights from Kolkata and Bagdogra to Paro (Bhutan)

    Airline - RouteNumberDepartureArrivalFareSchedule
    Bhutan Airlines - Kolkata to ParoB37018:159:55Rs. 20,039Daily except Wednesday and Sunday
    Druk Air - Bagdogra to Paro13112:1013:10Rs. 12,186Saturday

    By Road

    There are three entry points in India to reach Bhutan by land. These are the following:
    • Jaigaon - Phuentsholing Border (West)
    • Gelephu (Central)
    • Samdrup Jongkhar (East)
    Map Depicting the Different Border Points from India to Bhutan (Image from Google Maps)

    Ideally though, most travellers reaching Bhutan by road cross through the Jaigaon - Phuentsholing border. The Jaigaon - Phuentsholing border is located on the southwest region of India, about 1,619 kilometres away from Delhi.

    How to Reach Jaigaon - Phuentsholing Border from Delhi

    1. By Train and Bus - Since the distance between the border and Delhi is quite long, you cannot reach it by pure bus journey. A better option would be a combination of both train and bus journey. So your route would be:
    • Delhi > Train to Kolkata > Train to Hasimara > Bus to Jaigaon - Phuentsholing
    There are direct trains plying from Delhi to Kolkata. Journey duration is around 17 hours to 24 hours. Train journey is very comfortable and unlike bus journey, you won't need to break your routes into different sections as this is already direct.

    Trains from Delhi to Kolkata

    Train Name and NumberDeparture Station - TimeArrival Station - TimeSchedule
    Udyan Abha Toofan Express Train No. 13008Tuglakabad - 7:45Howrah Junction - 19:30Daily
    Kalka Mail Train No. 12312Delhi - 7:00Howrah Junction - 7:55Daily
    Sealdah Rajdhani Express Train No. 12314New Delhi - 16:25Sealdah - 10:10Daily
    New Delhi Howrah Express Train No. 12324Anand Vihar - 7:05Howrah Junction - 6:00Sunday and Thursday
    Kolkata Rajdhani Train No. 12302New Delhi - 16:55Howrah Junction - 9:50Daily except Fridays
    Poorva Express Train No. 12304New Delhi - 17:35Howrah Junction - 16:55Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday
    As you can see, you would either be dropped off at the Sealdah Railway Station or the Howrah Junction. Fares vary but are around Rs. 3,960 for 1A, Rs. 2,310 for 2A, Rs. 1,595 for 3A and Rs. 605 for SL. From Kolkata, you then ride another train going to the Hasimara Railway Station.

    Trains from Kolkata to Hasimara

    Train Name and NumberDeparture Station - TimeArrival Station - TimeSchedule
    Kanchankanya Express Train No. 13149Sealdah - 20:30Hasimara - 10:46Daily
    Karmabhoomi Express Train No. 22511Howrah Junction - 21:55Hasimara - 12:15Thursday
    Kolkata Alipur Duar Special Fare Train No. 03129Kolkata - 22:45Hasimara - 12:20Sunday
    Journey duration is around 12 to 15 hours. Fares vary but are around Rs. 2,500 for 1A, Rs. 1,450 for 2A, Rs. 1,005 for 3A and Rs. 370 for SL. Hasimara is merely 30 minutes away from the Jaigaon - Phuentsholing border. There are shared taxis at the Hasimara Railway Station itself that you can ride to reach the border area. Taxi rates cost around Rs. 300 per person. Or you can hire an auto rickshaw to take you to the border, which costs merely Rs. 120.

    2. Alternative (Train to Kolkata and Bus to Jaigaon) - From Kolkata, there is also a direct bus plying to Jaigaon - Phuentsholing. Your route would be:
    • Delhi > Train to Kolkata > Bus to Jaigaon - Phuentsholing
    However, frequency of buses are quite minimal and there are days in a week when buses don't operate. Fare though is in the lower side so this is a good option for budget travellers. I've highlighted the Delhi to Kolkata journey above via train so let's go to the Kolkata to Jaigaon journey via bus.

    Direct Bus from Kolkata to Jaigaon - Phuentsholing Border

    Bus OperatorDeparture TimeScheduleFare
    Royal Bhutanese Government19:00Tuesday, Thursday and SaturdayRs. 653
    The bus is operated by the Royal Bhutanese Government and there is one bus plying to the border three days a week. The bus departs from the Esplanade Bus Station in Kolkata. The bus station is about seven kilometres away from Howrah Junction so you need to ride an auto or a taxi to reach it. Journey duration is around 18 hours though it isn't as bumpy since the roads in Kolkata are quite good.

    3. Alternative (Train to New Jalpaiguri + Bus to Jaigaon) - You can also reach the New Jalpaiguri Railway Station and from there, ride a bus or shared taxi to reach Jaigaon - Phuentsholing. Your route would be:
    • Delhi > Train to New Jalpaiguri > Shared Taxi or Bus to Jaigaon - Phuentsholing
    There are direct trains from Delhi to the New Jalpaiguri Railway Station. Journey duration would be around one day or more.

    Trains from Delhi to New Jalpaiguri

    Train Name and NumberDeparture Station - TimeArrival Station - TimeSchedule
    Avadh Assam Express Train No. 15910Delhi - 7:45New Jalpaiguri - 17:50Daily
    Mahananda Express Train No. 15484Delhi - 6:35New Jalpaiguri - 13:30Daily
    North East Express Train No. 12506Anand Vihar - 6:45New Jalpaiguri - 8:20Daily
    Dibrugarh Rajdhani Train No. 12424New Delhi - 16:10New Jalpaiguri - 13:10Daily
    Brahmaputra Mail Train No. 14056Delhi - 23:40New Jalpaiguri - 5:00Daily
    Guwahati Rajdhani Train No. 12236New Delhi - 9:25New Jalpaiguri - 11:45Tuesday
    There are different stations in Delhi that have trains plying to New Jalpaiguri so you can easily pick a station that is close to you. Fares vary but are around Rs. 3,930 for 1A, Rs. 2,290 for 2A, Rs. 1,530 for 3A and Rs. 570 for SL. From this station, the border is about 152 kilometres away or about 3 hours of journey.

    To reach Jaigaon - Phuentsholing from the station, you have two options: either hire a shared taxi right from the station or ride a bus from Siliguri to the border. The first option costs higher especially if there aren't any tourist there to split the bill with you. Expect to pay around Rs. 1,700 and above.

    On the other hand, you can also opt to reach the Siliguri Bus Stand on Hill Cart Road. By taxi, it can cost you around Rs. 80 to Rs. 100 from the railway station to the bus stand. From here, there are buses plying to the border. But bus timings are infrequent, only two buses leave the station everyday, the first bus leaves at 7:30 in the morning and the other bus at 13:30 in the afternoon. Bus fare costs around Rs. 60 to Rs. 80.

    How to Reach Gelephu from Delhi

    Gelephu is about 1,757 kilometres away from Delhi. It is located close to Bongaigaon in Assam. This is not the usual border point that tourists take to reach Bhutan since transportation options here are quite limited as compared to the first border.

    1. By Train and Taxi (Train to New Cooch Behar and Taxi to Gelephu) - The good news is that you can reach the region of Assam directly by train from Delhi. Journey duration would be around 1 and 1/2 days though so it can take quite long. The nearest railway station to Gelephu is the New Cooch Behar Railway Station. Your route would be:
    • Delhi > Train to New Cooch Behar/Alipurduar Junction > Taxi to Gelephu
    Alternatively, you can also reach the Alipurduar Junction but trains plying from Delhi to this railway station are less.

    Trains from Delhi to New Cooch Behar or Alipurduar Junction

    Train Name and NumberDeparture Station - TimeArrival Station - TimeSchedule
    Avadh Assam Express Train No. 15910Delhi - 7:45New Cooch Behar - 20:45Daily
    North East Express Train No. 12506Anand Vihar - 6:45New Cooch Behar - 11:03Daily
    Dibrugarh Rajdhani Train No. 12424New Delhi - 16:10New Cooch Behar - 15:20Daily
    Brahmaputra Mail Train No. 14056Delhi - 23:40New Cooch Behar - 8:00Daily
    Mahananda Express Train No. 15484Delhi - 6:35Alipurduar Junction - 19:30Daily
    Anand Vihar Kamakhya Express Train No. 15622Anand Vihar - 23:45Alipurduar Junction - 8:55Friday
    Fares are around Rs. 4,225 for 1A, Rs. 2,460 for 2A, Rs. 1,680 for 3A and Rs. 810 for SL. From New Cooch Behar, Gelephu is about 170 kilometres away or 4 hours of driving. The downside with this route is that you need to hire a private car or taxi to reach Gelephu from New Cooch Behar as there are no direct buses plying to it. A hired taxi can cost around Rs. 2,000 to reach the border to Gelephu.

    How to Reach Samdrup Jongkhar from Delhi

    Samdrup Jongkhar is about 1,941 kilometres away from Delhi. Hence, it is not advisable to reach this border just to enter Bhutan from Delhi. Just choose any of the two borders above. However, for those coming from the state of Assam or Meghalaya, this is the better option for them.

    1. By Train and Bus (Train to Guwahati + Rangiya and Taxi to Samdrup) - The Guwahati Railway Station is the main railway station of Assam and of Guwahati. There are direct trains plying from Delhi to Guwahati. From Guwahati, you can ride another train to the Rangiya Junction and then hire a taxi to take you to the Samdrup Jongkhar border. Your route would be:
    • Delhi > Train to Guwahati > Train to Rangiya > Taxi to Samdrup Jongkhar
    Journey duration from Delhi to Guwahati Railway Station is about a day or more. There are only a few trains plying this route though.

    Trains from Delhi to Guwahati Railway Station

    Train Name and NumberDeparture Station - TimeArrival Station - TimeSchedule
    Avadh Assam Express Train No. 15910Delhi - 7:45Guwahati - 3:00Daily
    New Delhi Dibrugarh Rajdhani Train No. 12436New Delhi - 9:25Guwahati - 19:00Sunday and Thursday
    Kahanvally Express Train No. 14020Anand Vihar - 23:55Guwahati - 14:55Monday
    Poorvottar Sampark Kranti Express Train No. 12502New Delhi - 23:45Guwahati - 8:45Sunday and Wednesday
    Fares for this route would be around Rs. 4,680 for 1A, Rs. 2,690 for 2A, Rs. 1,825 for 3A and Rs. 685 for SL. From Guwahati Railway Station, you can then ride another train plying to the Rangiya Junction.

    Trains from Guwahati Railway Station to Rangiya Junction

    Train Name and NumberDeparture Station - TimeArrival Station - TimeSchedule
    Guwahati New Bongaigaon Passenger Train No. 55810Guwahati - 5:00Rangiya - 6:16Daily
    Kamrup Express Train No. 15960Guwahati - 7:45Rangiya - 8:57Daily
    North East Express Train No. 12505Guwahati - 9:45Rangiya - 10:40Daily
    Manas Rhino Passenger Train No. 55802Guwahati - 17:30Rangiya - 18:50Daily
    Journey duration from Guwahati to Rangiya would be about one hour or so. Fares would be around Rs. 1,200 for 1A, Rs. 695 for 2A, Rs. 500 for 3A and Rs. 140 for SL. From Rangiya, you can take a taxi to reach the border, which is about an hour away from the railway station. Although there are buses plying to reach other areas around the border, they are infrequent and they don't really reach the border per se.

    So there you go, I hope this guide helps you in reaching Bhutan if you're from Delhi. Good luck!

  3. Prits

    Prits Member

    By Air

    Reaching Bhutan by air is the most common and convenient option for travelers from Delhi. The country's only international airport, Paro International Airport (PBH), serves as the primary entry point for tourists. Here's how you can make this journey by air:

    1. Delhi to Paro Direct Flight:
      • Duration: Approximately 2 hours
      • Airlines: Druk Air (Bhutan's national carrier) and Bhutan Airlines operate regular flights between Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) in Delhi and Paro International Airport (PBH) in Bhutan.
      • Flight Schedule: Flights are not daily, so it's essential to check the schedule and book your tickets well in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.
    2. Connecting Flights:
      • If direct flights from Delhi to Paro are unavailable or do not align with your travel plans, you can consider connecting flights via major international airports like Kathmandu (Nepal) or Bangkok (Thailand). From these hubs, you can catch a connecting flight to Paro.
      • Keep in mind that this option may take longer and could involve layovers and transfers.
    3. Visa and Entry Requirements:
      • To enter Bhutan by air, you must obtain a visa in advance, and you will need to be on a pre-arranged tour with a licensed Bhutanese tour operator. Bhutan does not issue visas upon arrival.
    By Land

    While flying is the most common way to enter Bhutan, you can also choose to embark on an adventurous road trip from Delhi to Bhutan. This option provides a unique experience, allowing you to witness the scenic beauty of India and Bhutan along the way. However, be prepared for long travel times, border crossings, and potential challenges.

    1. Delhi to Bhutan via Phuentsholing (Jaigaon) Land Route:
      • Duration: Approximately 24 to 30 hours of driving, excluding breaks.
      • Route: From Delhi, travel to the border town of Jaigaon in West Bengal, which is adjacent to Bhutan's border town, Phuentsholing. You will need to pass through several Indian states, including Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
      • Border Crossing: After reaching Jaigaon, you will need to complete immigration and customs procedures to enter Bhutan. Ensure you have the necessary permits and documents.
      • Road Conditions: The road from Jaigaon to Thimphu, Bhutan's capital, is well-maintained, offering picturesque views of the Himalayan foothills. However, it can be winding and challenging in some sections.
    2. Visa and Permits:
      • Similar to traveling by air, entering Bhutan by land requires pre-arranged tours and permits. You must organize your trip through a licensed Bhutanese tour operator and secure the required permits before arriving at the border.
    Combined Air and Land Travel

    Another option is to combine air and land travel for a more varied experience. This can be especially appealing if you wish to explore different parts of Bhutan or neighboring regions during your journey.

    1. Fly to Bagdogra and Drive to Bhutan:
      • Duration: Approximately 4 to 5 hours of driving from Bagdogra Airport to the border town of Phuentsholing.
      • Route: Fly from Delhi to Bagdogra Airport (IXB) in West Bengal, India, which is the closest airport to Bhutan. From Bagdogra, you can hire a taxi or take a pre-arranged transfer to Phuentsholing, where you will go through the immigration process to enter Bhutan.
      • Permits: Ensure you have the necessary permits and documents in advance, as mentioned earlier.
    2. Fly to Guwahati and Drive to Bhutan:
      • Duration: Approximately 5 to 7 hours of driving from Guwahati to the Bhutan border.
      • Route: Fly from Delhi to Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport (GAU) in Guwahati, Assam, India. From Guwahati, you can take a scenic road trip to the Bhutan border town of Samdrup Jongkhar.
      • Border Crossing: Complete the immigration and customs procedures at Samdrup Jongkhar to enter Bhutan.
    Travel Tips

    1. Visa and Permits:
      • Regardless of your chosen mode of travel, securing the necessary permits and visas is crucial. Consult with a licensed Bhutanese tour operator well in advance to facilitate this process.
    2. Travel Seasons:
      • Bhutan experiences distinct travel seasons, with spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) being the most popular times to visit due to favorable weather conditions. Winters are milder, while monsoon season (June to August) brings heavy rainfall.
    3. Tour Operators:
      • It's advisable to book your trip through a reputable Bhutanese tour operator. They will handle all the necessary arrangements, including permits, accommodations, and transportation within Bhutan.
    4. Currency and Payment:
      • Bhutan's currency is the Bhutanese Ngultrum (BTN). Indian Rupees (INR) are also widely accepted in the border towns, but it's advisable to carry some Bhutanese Ngultrums for convenience.
    5. Health Precautions:
      • Be prepared for altitude variations, as Bhutan has several high-altitude regions. Altitude sickness can affect some travelers, so it's essential to acclimatize gradually.